August 19th, 1994

John Scalzi is giving away an Advanced Reading Copy of his upcoming novel Zoe's Tale. The catch? You have to tell him what went on the night of August 19th, 1994. You have until 11:59 PM Thursday to do it.

My entry below:

Everyone thought the tale of 8/14/94 had died with McNiven, thrown over the side of the raft along with the charm bracelet, deck of pinochle cards and the old voodoo box none of us could open. Coming on 14 years later much of it’s still a blur, a cloudy array of lies on top of lies meant to not only obfuscate the story, but bury it altogether.

But like a well-worn joke, the punchlines and tags remain, even if the focus falls off the way-side, and since Scalzi buys the drinks (buys ‘em hard and strong) in this neck of the woods, I can chase the pain and guilt away long enough to impart the following:

1. There were originally 9 charms on the bracelet, but when thrown overboard only 4 remained.

2. McNiven’s hat (though not McNiven himself) provided an important clue early on.

3. It was a damn shame no one knew how to play pinochle.

To this day my knee still aches when the cold comes, and I’m forever haunted by his face, sinking slowly from white to black in the inadequate glow of our failing flashlight.